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A bond between brothers

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Southwestern's Jacob, left, and Zachary, right, Swansonhave been given The Shelbyville News Sportsmanship Award for their outstanding character.
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Southwestern's Jacob and Zachary Swanson, who both graduated this year, lean towards the finish line during a race this past season. The pair, for thier outstanding character, have been given The Shelbyville News Sportsmanship Award.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

I have had the pleasure of meeting several sets of twins while working in the sports writing business. Of course, all have been unique in their own way. But there was something extra that stood out about the Swanson brothers from Southwestern.

It was their sportsmanship.

One reward I wanted to add to the end of the school year, in addition to our spring “player of the year” stories, was an award that recognized high-character athletes — those who are selfless and push others around them to be their best. After brainstorming a few names, the decision was rather easy.

For their accomplishments and team-first attitudes this season, I would like to give Jacob and Zachary Swanson The Shelbyville News Sportsmanship Award for 2017-18.

The 2018 Southwestern graduates participated in soccer, basketball and track and field this past year and will continue their academic careers at the University of Indianapolis.

Jacob was the basketball player and Zachary was the quick one on the track. And in soccer, nearly every email I received from head coach Taylor Meredith had the name “Swanson” somewhere on it with a goal or an assist.

Jacob, who averaged 11.0 points per game in basketball and was named Third Team All-County, finished the year with three goals and one assist in soccer. Zachary had nine goals and three assists. On the basketball court, Zachary averaged 3.5 points and 2.9 assists per game.

I wrote about this maybe a month or so ago, but I think it is important to mention again. The main photo for this article was during the Mid-Hoosier Conference track and field meet. Zachary edged Jacob for first in the 100-meter dash and took home four blue ribbons to help the Spartans take the conference title. After getting beat by a hair, Jacob was not upset. He wanted me to know how well his brother did and nominated him for TSN Athlete of the Week.

I honestly really, really respected that.

Also, during basketball season, the guys were very happy for their teammates, junior Blake McClure and senior Eirik Shackelford, for being named to the All-MHC team.

I never once saw one of them complain to an official. Or even to their coach. Usually, I noticed the brothers joking around with friends and having a good time. They were even nice to me when I messed their names up, which I am sure happens all the time.

After meeting their mom at a sectional track meet, it became more clear why the boys are the way they are. Erika Swanson was polite and humble. She told me the boys have always been like this. Sure, they fight over normal things, like being late, but Jacob and Zachary really are best friends. With a friendship strengthened by the bond of brotherhood, the Swansons have a one-of-kind relationship.

Jacob, who is older by half an hour, plans to study business at UIndy, while Zachary will focus on physical therapy.

With all that said, I wanted to thank everyone who helped me in my first year at The Shelbyville News. I promise it did not go unnoticed.

This award could have easily gone to several athletes, but, in the end, the Swanson brothers stood out above the rest.

Have a great summer. I will see you around.

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.